November 14, 2011

Cal Ripken's Kid Commits to South Carolina

Do you know how hard it is to write a catchy lead to a story about a Hall of Famer's son signing a letter of intent to play collegiate baseball without including some hackneyed "like father, like son" reference?

Damn hard.

If only Gilmore (Baltimore) High School senior Ryan Ripken's dad was Billy "Uncle F***face" Ripken...I wouldn't have this problem.

Anyhoo.

The University of South Carolina Gamecocks landed one of the game's most recognizable names in baseball when the junior Ripken (NOT Cal Ripken Jr.) signed his letter of intent Monday.

The six-foot-six Ripken, a first baseman who also pitches, is a three-year starter who batted .353 as a junior.

“He’s been terrific for us and it’s a wonderful opportunity for him and I’m sure he’ll make the most of it,” Gilman's head coach Larry Sheets told the Baltimore Sun. “He had a few choice, quality schools who pursued him. Who wouldn’t want to go to school of the caliber of South Carolina?”

According to South Carolina fan site The Big Spur (was the Big Cock taken?), Ripken chose the Gamecocks over Coastal Carolina, Maryland and Wake Forest.

And if this whole baseball thing doesn't work out...the kid is also a monster on the basketball court, averaging 17.5 points and 8.5 boards a game.

"I want to prove myself in one, and that's baseball," the lanky lefty said in some random interview I dug up. "Baseball, in my opinion, is the tougher sport. It's the greater challenge for me.  And it's something I want to do."

Some online scouting websites have Ripken ranked as the top player in the state of Maryland and the tenth best at his position in the country.  Dude's also reportedly got a 3.7 GPA...not too shabby!

And, yeah, Ripken's coach Larry Sheets is the same Larry Sheets who played alongside Cal (and sometimes Billy) from 1984 to 1989 for the Baltimore Orioles.

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